Healthcare professionals' beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, and behavior around vaping in pregnancy and postpartum: A qualitative study



Hunter A, Yargawa J, Notley C, Ussher M, Bobak A, Murray R, Nath S & Cooper S (2021) Healthcare professionals' beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, and behavior around vaping in pregnancy and postpartum: A qualitative study. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 23 (3), pp. 471-478.

Introduction: Finding effective ways to help pregnant women quit smoking and maintain long-term abstinence is a public health priority. Electronic cigarettes (i.e., vaping) could be a suitable cessation tool in pregnancy for those who struggle to quit, however, healthcare professionals (HCP) must be informed about these devices to offer appropriate advice. This study used the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation and Behaviour (COM-B) model and Theoretical Domains Framework (TDF) to explore HCP attitudes towards vaping in pregnancy and postpartum; beliefs about the health risks of vaping; perceived barriers and facilitators of vaping in pregnancy; knowledge of current guidelines and policies; and training needs. Methods: Interviews (n=60) were conducted with midwives (n=17), health visitors (n=10), general practitioners (GPs) (n=15) and stop smoking specialists (n=18) across the UK. Interview transcriptions were analysed thematically using the framework approach and the COM-B. Results: Discussing vaping as a tool for quitting smoking in pregnancy was prevented by a lack of capability (limited knowledge of ECs, lack of training in smoking cessation); lack of opportunity (restricted by organisational policies and guidelines, lack of time and financial issues impacting on training), and negative social influences (sensationalist media and stigma associated with vaping in pregnancy); and lack of motivation (fear of future litigation and comebacks should adverse effects from vaping arise). Conclusions: Factors related to capability, opportunity and motivation were identified that influence HCPs attitudes and behaviours towards vaping in pregnancy. Gaps in knowledge and training needs were identified, which could inform the development of targeted vaping training.

Electronic cigarettes; Qualitative research; Pregnancy—treatment and intervention; Public health

Nicotine and Tobacco Research: Volume 23, Issue 3

FundersCancer Research UK
Publication date31/03/2021
Publication date online05/07/2020
Date accepted by journal02/07/2020

People (2)


Miss Abby Hunter

Miss Abby Hunter

PhD Researcher, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Professor Michael Ussher

Professor Michael Ussher

Professor of Behavioural Medicine, Institute for Social Marketing